A cool, analytical coach rather than a firebrand like Jürgen Klopp, successor-elect Thomas Tuchel could fit in well at Borussia Dortmund, says UEFA.com's Philip Röber.
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Thomas Tuchel is once again following in the footsteps of Jürgen Klopp,
having signed a three-year deal at Borussia Dortmund, starting on 1 July. The 41-year-old has been on sabbatical since the end of last season, working out the remainder of his contract at Klopp's old club, 1. FSV Mainz 05, where Tuchel had been in charge since 2009. UEFA.com wonders what the new man might bring to Dortmund.
Just as Klopp was in 2001, Tuchel was a surprise choice for the Mainz job in 2009 – neither coach had played in the Bundesliga, but both quickly silenced doubters by delivering high-intensity football. Tuchel was promoted from the Mainz Under-19 job a matter of days before the campaign started, his predecessor Jørn Andersen sacked a few months after winning promotion to the top division. He was thrown in at the deep end, but things went swimmingly; Mainz finished a respectable ninth in the table. Dortmund can only hope he enjoys a similarly serene start his new job.
As he turned Mainz from relegation candidates into a solid mid-table team, one that even qualified for the UEFA Europa League in his second season in charge, Tuchel's match-plans became notorious. He took video analysis and thorough preparation to a new level, and demonstrated excellent squad management – often making five or six changes to a winning side to best anticipate the unique challenges of the next fixture. His teams were carefully fine-tuned to catch opponents out and often punched well above their weight.
A former sports science student with a degree in English, Tuchel finds inspiration everywhere. In the year of 'gardening leave' that followed his decision to step down as Mainz coach, he has been soaking up knowledge and best practices from other sports, like basketball and volleyball, while also examining statistical and psychological aspects of the game. While speculation about his future was incessant, Tuchel kept a low profile and is not expected to comment on his new duties at Dortmund until he officially takes command in the summer.
A higher hurdle
His task at Mainz was modest compared to what he will face at Dortmund. When Klopp took over, Dortmund were in the doldrums; Tuchel is assuming command of a side with much higher expectations. His attack-minded, intense style of play should endear him to fans used to Klopp's teams, but the new man is not as charismatic and emotional as the current incumbent. Dedicated to challenging "encrusted thinking patterns", Tuchel will look to give his players the benefit of his research. If they enjoy the challenge of changing their style regularly to keep opponents guessing, it could be a match made in heaven.